When one hears the term “purchase”, it may bring to mind someone who literally “just” buys things. But that’s not the case for our purchasers. Their job is much more complex, diverse, and frankly, also more demanding. What does a purchaser really do at Moravia Propag? What does his or her typical workday look like? Find the answers from our purchasers Marika, Petr, and Honza.
Petr: I focus on procuring and developing illuminated advertisements and plastic products. What exactly does this entail? Co-operating on developing products with suppliers, thinking of ways to make things work from a technical viewpoint. Finding good compromises between quality, price, and performance. Every product we come up with is customised.
Marika: Even though our job is called “purchaser”, I think we are more like project managers. This process involves much more than just purchasing. It’s not like I’m sitting behind the computer and ordering final products. I think the work we do is more like product development.
Honza: In Moravia Propag’s purchase department I’ve done just about everything. I started out with a part-time job in certifications. Then I started procuring 3D promotional items, then POS materials, and now I purchase furniture and lead the team responsible for POS materials made of metal and wood, and other related commodities such as menu boards, product strips, and smaller orders.
What is your typical workday like?
Petr: Certainly the first thing I do every morning is to check on the status of everything that is currently in production, and, if necessary, I visit the suppliers and check on the production. So, before lunch, I’m focused on production in progress and on Chinese suppliers, who do not communicate after lunch. In the afternoon, I work more on orders, and, if time allows, I develop new things. But that’s just my schedule, everyone’s free to do as they see fit.
Marika: When I leave work, I write a list of tasks for the next day. So when I arrive to work, I follow the list. In times like this, when each of us is handling something like 45 projects, a person cannot hold everything in one’s head. Moreover, additional orders are coming in, so I need to switch to whatever is more pressing. And then there are meetings or something goes wrong in production, so we take a car and go sort that out. That’s just how it goes. Every day there’s a new surprise.
Honza: I come in the morning, have coffee and go through my e-mails. I select the urgent ones that need to be resolved immediately. Once that’s done, I start working on long-term projects for which I try to allocate a substantial part of my day. I keep track of everything in a diary, and I never go without it.
What makes your job fun?
Petr: My colleagues! What I like is when we have enough time to work on some project from beginning to end. We work together on its development, meet with the customer, come up with something together with the graphic designers. In those cases, we are part of the entire process from initial development to the end.
Marika: What I like is that our work is not monotonous. It’s dynamic, very creative. When you have the experience, it’s all up to you. No one’s watching over you, checking you. People trust in you and you’re able to manage everything yourself. And of course the best part is when the products come in and you see you managed it. Or when you see the products you worked on out in the world. That’s a great feeling.
Honza: I feel good about bringing projects to a successful conclusion. I like working on them, making the effort for the customer to get nice goods and for everything to work out fine. When it does, that’s the best feeling for me.
What is your team like?
Petr: My team is the best in the company. Why? Because I’m in it! (Among others.) I think we work together really well. We can stand in for each other or take over entire projects if someone’s swamped. That’s good. And we also are a good fit as people. It’s not that we need to do something together just because we sit together here for 8-1/2 hours every day. We see each other also outside of work hours, even getting together with former colleagues who decided to pursue other career paths.
Marika: We’re all young and sociable. We meet outside of work to have a beer, go to the cinema, or have lunch. There are people with whom I have relationships that are much really extraordinary. The people just fit together. And there really isn’t any other way to make things go. If there was a negative atmosphere in the office, it just couldn’t work.
Honza: Our team is the youngest in spirit, the most fun, and the liveliest. This was quite a change for me. The team where I was previously was calmer, which was not a bad thing either. In any case, I think the gang here – and not just in this office, but in all of MP – is unique.
If you wanted to persuade some friend to start working at MP, what would you say?
I would try to convince someone if I knew he or she likes the stuff we do. The main thing is that one has to not mind working under a bit of pressure. That’s certain here. The work has variety. We don’t do the same things over and over. So I believe this is the main advantage. And then there’s the matter of whether one wants to try managing complex projects, because at MP a person takes on an entire project right from Day 1 and has responsibility for the whole thing.
I would point to the things I said to a friend a couple of months ago. That’s why she’s here!
I wouldn’t do that, because I don’t like recommending something. But if a friend came to me and said that he or she’s interested in working here, I’d explain that we are a dynamic, friendly, open, ambitious, and experienced company, as can be seen from its 25 years in business. He or she should be prepared to take on responsibility for a number of projects and know that one always has to work at full speed. There is no dilly-dallying here, and sometimes it gets pretty chaotic. So even though I would speak highly of the work, I also would explain that it is demanding.
What should your new colleague know how to do?
Make coffee! If he or she could play the banjo, that would be an advantage, because no one here knows how to do that yet. It also wouldn’t hurt to be brilliant in Chinese.
He or she just has to be self-directed and fearless. People learn everything here. When I joined MP after school, I knew almost nothing. I did not understand wood, or any other commodity I now work with. After these four years, I dare say I am one of the most experienced people in the team. If a person wants to, you can learn anything. Just don’t be afraid to learn. People make mistakes, and sometimes I do too. That’s how things go, so recognise that, don’t be afraid, and remember your mistakes in order to avoid repeating them.
They should mainly have common sense and be good with numbers. They should know that something costs a certain amount but maybe if I do the packaging or the transportation differently, if I renegotiate terms with the supplier or suppliers, then I can get to a totally different price. One just has to have a light come on in one’s mind at the right time. Anything I put in front of you – a ball pen, a tray, a chair, a parasol – you have to be able to think about it and discuss what can be done with it. How to modify it, improve it, make it cheaper, and so on. That’s certainly the basis. Otherwise, apart from English, you don’t need much else. To the contrary, I’d say that too much experience can be detrimental in this specific environment.